Inhibition of VEGFR2 activation and its downstream signaling to ERK1/2 and calcium by thrombospondin-1 (TSP1): In silico investigation

Hojjat Bazzazi, Jeffery S. Isenberg, Aleksander S Popel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


VEGF signaling through VEGFR2 is a central regulator of the angiogenic response. Inhibition of VEGF signaling by the stress-induced matricellular protein TSP1 plays a role in modulating the angiogenic response to VEGF in both health and disease. TSP1 binding to CD47 inhibits VEGFR2 activation. The full implications of this inhibitory interaction are unknown. We developed a detailed rule-based computational model to inquire if TSP1-CD47 signaling through VEGF had downstream effects upon ERK1/2 and calcium. Our Simulations suggest that enhanced degradation of VEGFR2 initiated by the binding of TSP1 to CD47 is sufficient to explain the inhibition of VEGFR2 phosphorylation, calcium elevation, and ERK1/2 activation downstream of VEGF. A complementary mechanism involving the recruitment of phosphatases to the VEGFR2 complex with consequent increase in the rate of receptor dephosphorylation may augment the inhibition of the VEGF signal. The model was then utilized to simulate the effect of inhibiting external TSP1 or the depletion of CD47 as potential therapeutic strategies in restoring VEGF signaling. Results suggest that depleting CD47 is a more efficient strategy in inhibiting the effects of TSP1/CD47 on VEGF signaling. Our results highlight the utility of in silico investigations in elucidating and clarifying molecular mechanisms at the intersection of TSP1 and VEGF biology and in differentiating between competing pro-angiogenic therapeutic strategies relevant to peripheral arterial disease (PAD) and wound healing.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number48
JournalFrontiers in Physiology
Issue numberFEB
StatePublished - Feb 6 2017


  • Calcium
  • CD47
  • Computational modeling
  • ERK1/2
  • TSP1
  • VEGF
  • VEGFR2

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Physiology (medical)

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Inhibition of VEGFR2 activation and its downstream signaling to ERK1/2 and calcium by thrombospondin-1 (TSP1): In silico investigation'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

  • Cite this